BrandSource will host its first ever Young Professionals University (YPU) event in Orange County, California on May 18th-20th. The Young Professionals’ division, led by Director of Marketing, Jennifer Baldwin, is BrandSources’ veritable breeding ground for prospective future leaders of the company. The three-day event is an exciting opportunity for the industry’s under 40 demographic to network with one another in a relaxed, casual setting while earning valuable knowledge about the retail industry. The Young Professionals’ division, which was created in 2014, is a mixture of young, highly motivated independent dealers, sales representatives, buyers, sales managers and vendor partners looking to share new ideas and grow their businesses. Blessed with an entrepreneurial spirit, they are focused on the kind of innovation that will change the retail industry while fostering the success of both BrandSource & ProSources’ independent stores. It is hoped that the members descending upon Orange County in May, through a mixture of educational seminars, social networking and guidance by current membership, will be the next group of business leaders capable of meeting the needs of future generations in the electronics, appliance, furniture & bedding industries. The upcoming Young Professionals University (YPU) event will be dynamic much like the recent BrandSource & ProSource Summit in Orlando in terms of combining business related activities with social events designed to encourage networking and collaboration. Team building events, seminars, roundtable discussions and workshops will be mixed in with other activities including a beach BBQ, an exciting tour of the Bosch facility, and an interactive vendor/member mixer. The Young Professionals’ membership will also be treated to keynote speakers Tim and Kris O’Shea who will present “The O’Shea Report: Change 180,” an informative and funny look on how to use humor to deal with the ups and downs of change. The popular duo has previously presented to such prominent companies as McDonald’s, General Motors, and Hewlett-Packard. The event will also coincide with the Power Dealer Meeting, which is a meeting of the company’s largest volume members. The timing of the event will afford the Young Professionals a unique opportunity to introduce themselves to veteran members of the BrandSource family, learn from their vast experience, and make valuable contacts along the way. “We think this will be a great time for them (the Young Professionals) to network and learn from our more seasoned retailers. We are inviting vendors who have young professionals within their industries to join us. We want the young retailers to know that this is still a viable industry in all categories- consumer electronics, major appliances, furniture, and bedding,” said Jennifer Baldwin, who is leading the contingent’s visit to Orange County. The overlapping meetings of the Young Professionals and Power Dealers is fortunate for another reason which deals with overcoming the common issue dealers face of succession planning-current owners attempting to pass their businesses on to often reluctant future generations. It is hoped that fraternization with prominent members of the BrandSource membership could change this. “The concern amongst our members has been that their desire to pass on their businesses to the future generation is being met with hesitation.” Said Baldwin. “Our purpose is to share best practices & networking opportunities to these future leaders to prove that this can be a very successful and lucrative venture and to provide direction on how this can be accomplished.” The commingling of current and future generations of dealers is in keeping with the forward thinking vision of the BrandSource membership despite the popular misconception, depicted in the media, that younger employees do not share the same drive and determination that their predecessors had. Baldwin feels that nothing can be further from the truth. “Today’s young professionals are considered the most educated generation ever. This generation understands that nothing can be achieved alone and therefore work extraordinarily well collaborating together. Besides being completely tech savvy, they aspire to find solutions to problems. We’re really excited because this is the first ever Young Professionals University, the first time we’ll have YPs together for more than just a few hours. This is an excellent way for them to not only network but to share ideas and really learn from one another.” About BrandSource Based in Tustin, Calif. and founded in 1969, BrandSource is a 100-percent member-owned merchandising group with more than $14 billion in annual retail sales, nearly 4,500 independent dealer members in North America and close to 3,000 ‘branded’ stores in the United States. ProSource, its consumer electronics division represents more than 500 specialty retailers and custom integrators and boasts annual retail sales of over $4 billion, making it the largest specialty and consumer electronics merchandising group in the United States. As the largest unified merchandising group by number of members and volume in North America, BrandSource has the ability to negotiate strong programs with manufacturers in order keep its independent retailer members relevant and extremely competitive in the consumer marketplace. BrandSource retailers have established a strong reputation for offering local consumers an unparalleled customer service experience, along with a ‘neighborhood expert’ source whenever they’re in the market for appliances, consumer electronics or home furnishings. Please visit www.brandsource.com or www.brandsourcesummit.com for more information.